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Workplaces/Employment and planning in Toronto

Memph

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http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2015/11/planning-prosperity-neptis-foundation-maps-economic-growth

Key points:

-Zoning can be problematic limit the ability for different components of a business to co-locate, like management offices, manufacturing, research facilities
-Export driven sector is continuing to switch from manufacturing to "creative class" type employment. Manufacturing employment is declining due to both off-shoring and automation. Creative class/white collar employment allegedly depends on a labour force that values urbanism and a sense of place, which many office parks lack.
-Increasing reliance on a specialized skilled labour force means there's a need for good mobility (best achieved with dense urban transit-connected environments)
-While manufacturing blue collar employment is declining, very low skilled, minimum wage type service sector employment is growing

-Public investments like hospitals and universities should be taken advantage of - i.e. maybe not such a good idea to put them at the suburban outskirts *cough* Laurier in Milton *cough*. Universities and hospitals can anchor many other economic activities and land uses, and cities should make sure this potential does not go to waste. (p 25)
-Aside from downtown, the rest of Toronto's urban core is highly devoid of STEM employment and is experiencing declines in STEM employment (2001-2011). This includes certain innermost suburban areas ex Don Mills & Eglinton. The 905 has experienced increases in STEM employment, especially in Mississauga and Markham. The outermost parts of the 416 are more or less flatlining. Outside the GTA, STEM employment growth is limited to the vicinity of the University of Waterloo. (p 27-29)
-Employment in finance is concentrated in Downtown with significant secondary hubs in Mississauga, North York, Markham and K-W. Downtown and Mississauga lead in employment growth with smaller areas of growth elsewhere like in North York, Markham and K-W. (p 30-32)
-Manufacturing employment is largely suburbanized. For exact locations, anywhere in grey on satellite imagery is a good indicator... so mostly suburban GTA, Waterloo Region, Guelph and Hamilton. Overall major job losses, with only a few small areas experiencing small gains, mainly at the periphery. The only major success storey was Waterloo but that was probably RIM (2001-2011) and probably largely reversed since 2011. (p. 33-35)

While population has grown about 20% from 2001 to 2011 (I think?), job growth worth just 10% and employment involving goods and services that can be exported did not experience any net growth (-0.7%). (p. 37)

The 3 biggest sprawling employment zones of the 905 have 93% auto-commute mode share, compared to 29% for Downtown Toronto (p 43)

Suburban export-producing employment growth has been lead by major office parks like Meadowvale, ACC, 404/401, Winston Churchill/QEW and Burlington-QEW

The report seems to question the need for new employment lands. With the decline in manufacturing, warehousing is the only land intensive employment type that is seeing increasing demand. Perhaps this could simply replace manufacturing facilities that become vacant and will require little to no new land. Meanwhile retail and office uses might not be so good to locate within industrial parks and be better suited closer to housing and/or transit. Apparently a lot of greenfield land has been recently zoned for new employment districts to try to comply with Places to Grow, which may be excessive.

The report also argues there should be more of a focus on providing rapid transit to the suburban office and industrial parks. I'm not sure I completely agree. Some of these have inherently anti-urban layouts, it might be better to just focus on encouraging any future employment growth to occur in better locations with more modest attempts to serve existing suburban employment with transit (ex Mississauga BRT and Hwy 7 BRT).
 

mjl08

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-Export driven sector is continuing to switch from manufacturing to "creative class" type employment. Manufacturing employment is declining due to both off-shoring and automation. Creative class/white collar employment allegedly depends on a labour force that values urbanism and a sense of place, which many office parks lack.
This is definitely a challenge. The City of Toronto Employment Zones map (attached below) shows how prominent these parks still are in Toronto’s landscape. With the death of manufacturing and the movement of export and distribution centres to the 905, what will happen to these office parks in the future? I know the Consumers Park report initiated by Toronto Planning is looking at mixed-used opportunities, including residential developments.

Interestingly, I worked in the Duncan Mills office park (#15 on the map) until recently and there were a surprising amount of companies that could fall into the “creative class” category. Post City Magazines, three architecture firms and SoCan’s HQ were just down the street from me. I would imagine that in some cases their large space requirements meant they are priced out of more typical creative clusters like King West.

Another thing I’ve learned in my various jobs in office parks is the diversity of businesses and services that call these parks home. It’s easy to portray these parks as cold and isolated office fiefdoms that shut down at 4:59 pm on weekdays, but there is surprising amount of diversity in their occupants. The non-descript 1970s three-story building I worked at in Duncan Park housed two insurance companies, an IT start up, an inbound call centre, a membership organization, and an architecture firm.

The report also argues there should be more of a focus on providing rapid transit to the suburban office and industrial parks. I'm not sure I completely agree. Some of these have inherently anti-urban layouts, it might be better to just focus on encouraging any future employment growth to occur in better locations with more modest attempts to serve existing suburban employment with transit (ex Mississauga BRT and Hwy 7 BRT).
I think transit access remains important for these sites, but as you mentioned, not necessarily rapid transit. Make no mistake, the office and industrial parks you drive by on the 400 highways have many transit commuters. Employees in unskilled roles (cleaners, security, cafeteria workers), administrative positions, young graduates and interns, and increasingly, precariously employed or temporary workers, need these transit connections to get to the remote office parks.



 
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Memph

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This is definitely a challenge. The City of Toronto Employment Zones map (attached below) shows how prominent these parks still are in Toronto’s landscape. With the death of manufacturing and the movement of export and distribution centres to the 905, what will happen to these office parks in the future? I know the Consumers Park report initiated by Toronto Planning is looking at mixed-used opportunities, including residential developments.

Interestingly, I worked in the Duncan Mills office park (#15 on the map) until recently and there were a surprising amount of companies that could fall into the “creative class” category. Post City Magazines, three architecture firms and SoCan’s HQ were just down the street from me. I would imagine that in some cases their large space requirements meant they are priced out of more typical creative clusters like King West.

Another thing I’ve learned in my various jobs in office parks is the diversity of businesses and services that call these parks home. It’s easy to portray these parks as cold and isolated office fiefdoms that shut down at 4:59 pm on weekdays, but there is surprising amount of diversity in their occupants. The non-descript 1970s three-story building I worked at in Duncan Park housed two insurance companies, an IT start up, an inbound call centre, a membership organization, and an architecture firm.



I think transit access remains important for these sitse, but as you mentioned, not necessarily rapid transit. Make no mistake, the office and industrial parks you drive by on the 400 highways have many transit commuters. Employees in unskilled roles (cleaners, security, cafeteria workers), administrative positions, young graduates and interns, and increasingly, precariously employed or temporary workers, need these transit connections to get to the remote office parks.
Yeah I found a map of office space in the GTA on Amalgamated as I was working on a blog post about commuting to suburban employment a little while back. There is a fair bit along the DVP/400 in Toronto, but not quite as much as in Mississauga and Markham.

https://ericvery.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/watch-60-years-of-office-growth-in-the-greater-toronto-area/
http://swontariourbanist.blogspot.ca/2015/06/where-do-cars-in-toronto-come-from-part_29.html

However a lot of the other employment lands in the city proper seem to skew towards manufacturing and warehouses. For those, we can aim for relatively frequent bus service with housing options to live nearby and attempts to make them as walkable as realistically possible, but rapid transit probably won't be feasible in many cases, especially in the 905 industrial areas. If these are the only major employment centres that will continue to have high auto commute mode share, I think we can live with that and it will still be a significant improvement over the present situation.

Most of the suburban office nodes have very high auto-commute mode share especially the 905 ones, but will see/are seeing transit improvements, with the Hurontario LRT, Hwy 7 BRT, Stouffville GO, Mississauga BRT, Eglinton LRT and then whatever we decide on for the east end in terms of DRL vs Don Mills LRT, Scarborough Subway vs LRT and Sheppard East. Only Meadowvale and the QEW corridor (Sheridan and West Oakville/East Burlington) will be lacking rapid transit. Try to urbanize these with more of a mix of housing and retail in addition to the offices would make sense, BUT

We want to make sure that doesn't just push out new office development to other locations whether that's Lisgar, future highways (Halton-Peel?), Vellore, Eastern Vaughan (Hwy 427 extension area). Like how come all the new office space in Mississauga has been getting built in Meadowvale and ACC and nothing's been getting built in MCC anymore? A repeat of that would be undesirable.

I'm also wondering if Downtown will get built out in terms of office space 1-2 decades down the road, and if so where can future office space get built.

Neptis bias against Toronto is strong and known.
I haven't read much of their reports, so I guess I haven't noticed that kind of pattern yet.
 
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Memph

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Found a similar map of office space in Metro Vancouver and edited one of the maps to show rapid transit and highways more clearly (Black is highways, pink is Skytrain and Red is Skytrain U/C)

http://sfb.nathanpachal.com/2015/05/transit-magnet-for-new-office-space-in.html

It seems like much of the highways skirt around the edges of the suburbs rather than going through them. A lot of the suburban office space is near the Skytrain, but even the office space that isn't is often in a more urban setting than in the suburban GTA. Rather than being "highway oriented" they'll be more "arterial oriented". They also tend to have a mix of uses, not just office but also hotels, retail, residential, public institutions like hospitals or post-secondary and industrial space, and in a *relatively* compact setting, often with buildings built up to the street, or almost. This makes them more practical to serve with frequent bus transit and more vibrant/urban/walkable. Think Etobicoke Centre as opposed to Meadowvale.

There seem to be quite a bit fewer major office nodes that are single use auto-oriented. The worst offenders would be probably Commerce Pkwy in Richmond, Carvolth in Langley Twp and Glenlyon Pkwy in Burnaby. The next worst ones are already better than most recent GTA office parts, like the area around BC Institute of Technology in Burnaby, or Newton or Guildford Town Centres in Surrey. The other "urban centres" in the suburbs are urbanizing quite well too, as well as some of the other spots near rapid transit stations.
 

mjl08

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Memph

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I think for the more industrial portions the main obstacle is low density, and for the office areas (Meadowvale, Hurontario/401, ACC) it's single use. In the more industrial or retail areas with shift workers you'll have trips in and out throughout the day but with the office areas, while densities are higher (but still not that high), it skews more towards 9-5 workers.

The other obstacle is that despite the congestion in the suburbs, I'm pretty sure you can still travel around the suburbs faster than in downtown, and parking is free, so driving is more practical than going to downtown (while at the making transit as fast is more difficult).
 

mjl08

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I think for the more industrial portions the main obstacle is low density, and for the office areas (Meadowvale, Hurontario/401, ACC) it's single use. In the more industrial or retail areas with shift workers you'll have trips in and out throughout the day but with the office areas, while densities are higher (but still not that high), it skews more towards 9-5 workers.

The other obstacle is that despite the congestion in the suburbs, I'm pretty sure you can still travel around the suburbs faster than in downtown, and parking is free, so driving is more practical than going to downtown (while at the making transit as fast is more difficult).
Free parking is a huge factor, I agree, as is single use. I have taken the MiWay airport bus from Square One on the weekend and it's a no man's land in the Matheson office areas.
 

W. K. Lis

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Finally.

Budget provides some relief for precarious workers

Liberal government proposes ban on most forms of unpaid internships, pledges $13 million to crack down on wage theft.

From link.

In a nod to the rise of precarious work, the federal government has pledged $13 million to crack down on wage theft and moved to ban most forms of unpaid internships.

The proposed amendments promise to beef up enforcement and “ensure that hard-working Canadians can more easily recover wages owed to them by their employer, and to ensure that employers who repeatedly offend will be punished.”

The vast majority of workers are governed by provincial labour laws, but some 6 per cent — around 820,000 — fall under federal jurisdiction. This includes sectors like banking, telecommunication and airport work.

Sean Smith of the Toronto Airport Workers Council said the money was “a good start” but more support was needed for low-wage employees at Pearson.

“We need the government to actually see what’s happening to federally regulated workers, especially on issues of contract flipping, severance, and protections for precarious work. This is not enough to protect people from the churn.”

The Star has written extensively about the rise of precarious work — including at Pearson airport — as well as how a legacy of poor enforcement at the provincial level has compounded wage-theft problems.

Ontario is currently reviewing its own employment and labour laws with an eye to providing stronger protections for vulnerable workers, and Alberta recently announced it will follow suit.

Following years of activism from the Canadian Intern Association and former NDP MP Andrew Cash, new budget measures also propose limiting unpaid internships in federal industries, calling some of those placements “unfair and exploitative.” The amendments would make unpaid positions in federal sectors illegal unless they’re part of a formal educational program.

“I think it’s a good first and I think it reflects a really egregious gap in federal labour laws, where unpaid interns working did not have any real protections under the Canada Labour Code,” Cash told the Star.

“The devil is always in the details with these things and we’ll see what it looks like when they table legislation, but for everyone who has been working on this issue for many years I think this is a good day.”
Next are the interns that fall under provincial jurisdiction, which is about 94% of us.
 
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